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Play Classic Sierra Adventure Games via Browser

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments

Play old Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry through your web browser

Before we had Syberia, before we had Sam & Max (both times), before we had Full Throttle, we had the old school adventure games from Sierra.

Those who have been playing PC games for a quarter century will remember classic Sierra On-Line titles such as King’s Quest, Police Quest, Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.

While adventure gaming has progressed a long way from those days (and sadly nearly to the point of extinction), revisiting such titles provides a heaping dose of nostalgia.

Rather than digging up your XT and firing up the old DOS, those looking to take a stroll down memory lane can check out Sarien.net, which is currently offering Flash-based renditions of the following Sierra adventures:

  • Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter
  • Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge
  • Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel
  • Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
  • The Black Cauldron

Site creator Martin Kool has implemented several interface tweaks to enable mouse support and even some form of multiplayer where players can see each other while in the same location.

Activision Blizzard hasn’t commented on Sarien.net, but hopefully the publisher giant will recognize what a tribute this is to its Sierra properties, and perhaps even aid in the development of other classics into Flash.

Now, what about King’s Quest?

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  • 0 Hide
    jeraldjunkmail , April 24, 2009 4:23 PM
    Hero's Quest was my favorite....
  • 0 Hide
    gamerk316 , April 24, 2009 4:24 PM
    Odd timing; a lot of the old Sierra games have had remakes for a while (Especially Kings Quest 1-III and the Space Quest series).
  • 7 Hide
    solymnar , April 24, 2009 5:05 PM
    Space quest 4
    Kings quest VI

    Were long time favorites of mine. I remember when I flipped out after opening the box for KQ6 "Kings quest VI takes SEVEN floppies?!?!?! This game is HUGE!!!

    SEVEN?!?!"

    Loved the mix of alice in wonderland with greek mythology. SQ series in general was scifi geek nervana in its time.
  • Display all 18 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , April 24, 2009 5:06 PM
    I still like the originals and in a lot of cases prefer the originals to the remakes. I still like the graphics and the gameplay. These game are timeless to me. Anyways, I checked out the site and I didn't hear any audio. Is that not implemented? If they can get the Apple IIgs sounds implemented, then it will be worth using.

    Speaking of which, you can play all of those games on virtualapple.org. It has the Apple IIgs versions (which are the best versions of the old Sierra AGI games because of superior sound and interface). Emulation isn't perfect, but it's decent and I think only people who played the games to death like me back in the day would notice the imperfections.
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , April 24, 2009 5:19 PM
    THANK GOD, i've been looking for these games forever:p 
  • 3 Hide
    zerapio , April 24, 2009 5:26 PM
    Just remember: Ken sent me :) 
  • 4 Hide
    ta152h , April 24, 2009 5:30 PM
    Incidentally, the PC jr. is what started these games, not the PC XT. King's Quest was written for it, because it had the graphics capability of finally displaying a pretty game. CGA offered 320 x 200 in four colors, or 640 x 200, on a discrete card, whereas the PC jr. actually was 320 x 200 in 16 colors, or 640 x 200 in four (which wasn't used for games). The negative is that the PC jr. used the main memory for this, which could take 32K.

    The Tandy 1000 was later called a PC compatible, but it was actually developed to be compatible with the "Peanut" (as the PC jr. was called). Because of this, it had some incompatibilities, but it also had the sound and graphics capabilities of the PC jr., and strangely, the PC Jr. graphics became known as "TGA", or Tandy Graphics Adapter, because the line was so successful, and the PC Jr. was discontinued right before the Tandy 1000 was released, and was known as being a very unsuccessful machine.

    So, for anyone wishing to play these games, I'd recommend a Tandy 1000 rather than a PC XT. You'll need EGA or higher on the XT, which is far from a given, and the sound will suck unless you get an Adlib card, or some other card they the games were compatible with. It's not easy to find. The Tandy has both taken care of, and they are cheap on eBay.

    I would avoid the straight 1000 and 1000a, they are slow, an in my experience, unreliable. They also have more compatibility problems (again, they weren't made to be PC compatible, but PC Jr. compatible).

    The 1000 SX is a nice machine, with five slots, more compatibility, and greater speed (7.16 MHz 8088). The 1000 SL and SL2 are updated versions, but using an 8086 at 8 MHz. The internal part of the OS also boots from ROM. The come with low density 5.25 floppy drives, but 3.5 inch drives were frequently added.

    The 1000 TX/TL/TL2/TL3 are all 286 based machines and consequently much faster. The later three also can boot from ROM, and they have 3.5 inch drives.

    The 1000 RL was a really small foot print version, also sporting a 8086, and having TGA graphics. The 1000 RLX uses a 286, and has VGA graphics. Both have only one slot.

    I would recommend them for anyone wishing to play these games. They are easily bought, work with little or no effort on the games, and sold a lot. There is a lot of information on them. The PC/XT was not used primarily for games, and to get it to play them you might need some add-on cards that are very difficult to get. On top of that, the thing weighs a ton, and is generally quite expensive to buy. Tandy 1000s are relatively inexpensive on eBay.
  • 0 Hide
    techtre2003 , April 24, 2009 5:57 PM
    I don't know about the other games, but Leisure Suit Larry doesn't work quite right. You still keep the items after you use them; so even after you drink the wine and it says the bottle is empty, the cab driver still takes wine from you and you crash and die. Plus you can do the same thing over and over and earn points every time.
    Also, there is no restore option so you'd have to play the whole thing through. :( 
  • 1 Hide
    HunterNIN , April 24, 2009 6:01 PM
    Hero's Quest, later renamed to Quest for Glory. My favorite. I loved all these games. Even the more rare ones, Black Cauldron, Codename: Iceman, so many. This is great, and I hope they continue with it, but dosbox works GREAT for these classics. Heck I was just playing the original Master of Orion last night with dosbox. They really do not make games like they used to.
  • 0 Hide
    techtre2003 , April 24, 2009 6:27 PM
    ^^ Yeah, I think if you're really interested in these games you need to check out DosBox and find a place to download the games! I think this site is doing a great thing, I just don't think they're quite there yet.
  • 0 Hide
    Marcus Yam , April 24, 2009 7:58 PM
    @ta152h, amazing post. You brought back a lot of old memories of old computer hardware.

    Also, I feel old.
  • 0 Hide
    albrec , April 24, 2009 8:48 PM
    Every few years I have to bust out the Quest for Glory collection and go through it again. At this point I can get through all of them in only a couple of days, but I love those games. I've been thinking about Conquest of the Longbow recently as well.

    If only the developer would step back and start making game that were that good again. Now days if a game is more that a couple of generations old as far as graphics are concerned it's not worth playing any more. All of the old Sierra games maxed out at 320x240 256 colors, most with midi sound, but some how they are still more FUN.
  • 0 Hide
    pharge , April 24, 2009 9:00 PM
    I love the King's Quests. I still remember the amazement and fun I had when I first saw/play the King's Quest I on that classic square-box like Mac made from that "fruit company"...lol
  • 0 Hide
    waikano , April 24, 2009 9:06 PM
    Here is the funny thing, I just sold all of my early 8088 Classic PC Games on E-Bay and some sold for more than I payed in 1986-87!! Several of them were Sierra Online Games including SQI, KQII & III, as well as Black Cauldron. Had the original 5 1/4" Floppies as well as the Boxes in mostly great shape. Ah great times.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2009 10:27 PM
    Of course, if you're in the mood for really old games you can always check out abandonia.com
  • 0 Hide
    San Pedro , April 25, 2009 1:37 AM
    Cool post. I really liked Sierra when I was young, especially Space Quest and King's Quest.
  • 0 Hide
    pirateboy , April 25, 2009 8:25 AM
    fyi, free king's quest 1 + 2 and quest for glory 2 remakes are available at http://agdinteractive.com/games/games.html
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 26, 2009 11:30 AM
    I have a copy of Freddy Pharkas on my book case. I want hand drawn games.